Concert Review in Ingolstadt Donaukurier (Germany)

Ingolstadt Donaukurier (For the original German text click here.)


Grandiose opening of the blues festival: Delta Moon will be in the Ingolstadt Neue Welt.

By Karl Leitner

Ingolstadt (DK) For the musicians of Delta Moon it is the last concert of a long European tour, before it goes back home to Atlanta, Georgia. The two guitarists Tom Gray and Mark Johnson as well as Franher Joseph on the bass and Greg Baba on drums are in a good mood.

The fact that they give the first concert as part of this year’s Blues Festival, so to speak, as a farewell gift to the Old World from the New World, is perfect timing. And right at the beginning of the festival a real bang, which should still linger for a long time.

Already after the opening chords “Hellbound Train”, “Black Cat Oil” and “Jessie Mae” the thing is clear. This band will leave nothing to burn today. Featuring a dry, straight-forward, hem-sleeve and earth-bound roots-blues-rock, which smells like the dusty expanses or the marshy swamps of the Southern states, they have the Blues community hooked and will not let go the whole evening.

The band is cool and casual and seems to shake their songs out of their sleeves, but at the same time plays so precisely that a chord and the swaying slide attacks start right up to the mark , Gruff mid- and uptempo songs, fast-paced lyrics, and the inimitable melodies from the band’s composer Tom Gray make the whole thing come true, the beats are unrelenting, the perfect sound and the thrust from the rhythm section fit together. As a blues fan you can only do one thing: groove and enjoy.

This alone would be an extraordinary concert even for Bluesfest. The absolute hammer, however, is these two guitarists, or rather the way they harmonize, complement each other, bounce back and forth, play with each other and against each other. Like two gears, their guitar tracks interlock. Sweeping slides and heavy chords, drawn from the marsh, are released from each other, so that it only crashes. There were always well-known twin guitars, such as – to stay in the Southern States and the blues – the duets of Allan / Dickey Betts or Derek Trucks / Warren Haynes. They soon became the stars that Tom Gray and Mark Johnson are not, but they are very good at demeaning both of them. They certainly do not follow their colleagues in any way.

How they can get themselves off the leash with the hypnotic “Afterglow” or with the R. L. Burnside number “Shake Em On Down” and the songs rightly hover, no one makes them too fast. What a festival start! For all the colleagues, who will be performing at Bluesfest in the coming weeks, Delta Moon have set the bar. And indeed far up.

New Delta Moon T-Shirt

We’ve added a new T-shirt to the Delta Moon webstore. We found a low-resolution version of this image of a skull moon breaking out from inside the sun and loved it. So we set out to find the artist and pay him for a printable version. The search, via the Internet, led around the world, and when we finally located the artist, Jack Bloom, he had an Atlanta phone number. After we’d talked and Jack sent a license contract, his street address looked familiar. Believe it or not, he lives in Cabbagetown! Thanks, Jack.

Review of Cabbagetown in Elmore


Delta Moon – Cabbagetown

By Tom Clarke

Some 18 years ago, when slide guitarist Mark Johnson witnessed a big yellow orb rising over Muddy Waters’ cabin in Mississippi, he knew he had the name of his new band—Delta Moon. For a group entrenched in organic blues to have developed such a singular, recognizable sound took major talent, vision, and determination. Delta Moon began as an acoustic-based trio featuring Johnson and fellow dazzling slide guitarist, Tom Gray. Time and a shuffled lineup has taken them to Cabbagetown, and a funny thing happened along the way. Tightening their model resulted in fine expansions in style.

Singer/bassist Franher Joseph and drummer Marlon Patton play rhythms that can support anything, while Johnson and Gray go to town and then some. The utterly infectious opener, “Rock and Roll Girl,” finds them in heartland rock mode, Johnson cruising on lap steel while Gray sings autobiographically of his life, and celebrates his better half. “The Day Before Tomorrow” mines similar territory, with a nifty assertion around the timeworn message that “Today’s the day—live it like it’s your last.” “Just Lucky I Guess,” next, works a deep blues furrow, the simple melody punctuated by sweet acoustic, and stinging National Steel slide. Gray wrote all three, and not only does he have a way with a pen, he sings in an abraded, but very tuneful set of pipes, the gruff nature perfect no matter the context of the tune.

One of the biggest advances in the band’s gamut, arrives with “Refugee,” a full band collaboration that lopes along and paints the pictures of three harrowing experiences in the victim’s “voices,” complete with background cries, gospel-style. Good God, it makes you throb, and think. On every one of Delta Moon’s eight studio albums and three live ones, there’s at least one “mooned-up” old blues. Here it’s Son House’s “Death Letter,” done animated, Joseph’s bass vocal and the harp by friend Jon Liebman adding great effects. Somehow, through all the moods, Delta Moon albums have an upbeat way about them. This new Moon shines in that way and much more.

Review of Cabbagetown in Keys and Chords (Belgium)

Keys and Chords (For the original Dutch text click here.)

Delta Moon – Cabbagetown

By Philip Verhaege (4 ½)

Delta Moon confirmed again and again. The slide guitar has the upper hand and goes perfectly with the acoustic strings, pounding drums and rough voice.

The album “Cabbagetown” is the new project of the Atlanta-based blues and roots-rock band Delta Moon. It is the eighth release and the successor to the powerful and award-winning ‘Low Down’ from 2015. Besides Son House’s “Death Letter” all the other songs are original compositions. After a long and very successful tour in Europe last year the band plunged into Marlon Patton’s home studio. Delta Moon — Tom Gray (vocals, lap steel guitar, keyboards, harmonica), Mark Johnson (guitar, banjo, backing vocals), Franher Joseph (bass, backing vocals) and drummer Marlon Patton — won the International Blues Challenge in Memphis in 2003. Since then, the band has worked hard. The release opens with the autobiographical rocker song “Rock And Roll Girl”. The hypnotic guitar riffs are directly supported by the typical lap steel, ehe trademark of the group. The acoustic-driven groove of “The Day Before Tomorrow” even has an alt-country abandon. The mandolin and lap steel arrangements of “Just Lucky I Guess” bring us to the love song “Coolest Fools”. The modern “Refugee” is a map of the world problems. After the refugees Gray gets behind the keys, driving “Mad About You” and the swampy beats of “Death Letter”. The Delta shuffle ’21st Century Man’ gives us a satirical look. But it gets really fun with the inspired “Cabbagetown Shuffle”. The bottleneck slide guitar and a southern-sounding steel guitar are the perfect duo. The closing “Sing Together” again enjoy the shimmering slide guitar and pounding drumbeats. Looking good!

Concert Review in Augsburger-Allgemeine (Germany)

Augsburger-Allgemeine (For the original German text click here.)

Under the Blues Moon

Delta Moon in the Charivari: What makes the band so special

By Ronald Hinzpeter

Perfect guitar work: Delta Moon in Charivari.

Photo: Reinhard Pfetsch.

Ulm. If two electric guitars play together, it can lead to wonderful duets like once in the Allman Brothers or Wishbone Ash. It is no harder to meld two slide guitars in intimate harmony, because if the instrumentalists slip a little sloppy with the glass or metal tube over the strings, the eardrums immediately squeak. Delta Moon from Atlanta are one of the few bands ever to compete with two equal-slated players. When Tom Gray and Mark Johnson duel, or play together, they tickle creamy runs from their guitars, then it sounds as if the two identical guitar guitars. No wonder, because the two founding members of the band have been playing together for more than 20 years and seem blind. In the Charivari, they have already presented a performance for the second time that leaves only one wish — that they may soon be able to return. The quartet plays this somewhat laid-back, bluish-waved swampy sound, as it can only thrive in the sultry heat of the South. This does not tolerate exaggerated hustle and bustle, but lives from the steaming slide guitars. Gray and Johnson blend so masterfully that the sound of Delta Moon actually stands out from that of many other bands. The songs are good, solid work, but get the certain brilliance, which lifts them out of the mass, only through the fine guitar playing. Gray and Johnson are doing this without exaggerated posing, but sometimes Gray shakes a little with his hip, with a gray head and thick glasses, more like the friendly narrative. This must suffice as a stage show, the music speaks for itself – and this is applauded by the  connoisseurs who once again filled Charivari. But towards the end, the band goes out in the audience and creates a small session. There may also be bass player Franher Joseph, with the vocal chorus refrain, a little run out of fingers, and backup guitarist Greg Baba shows that he has more on it, than just reliably beat the beat. Oh yes, Johnson and Gray are also pleasant to chat, because after the concert they are still in direct contact with the audience — two grown men, whose job is really fun … Under the Blues Moon.

Review of Cabbagetown in Roots Highway (Italy)

Roots Highway (For the original Italian text click here.)

Delta Moon – Cabbagetown

Tom Gray and Mark Johnson first met several years ago in an Atlanta record store. Both slide guitarists, it took them a short time before forming a band, rather unusual for the presence of the double slide that still characterizes the group’s sound with Gray’s dirty voice. After winning the International Blues Challenge in Memphis in 2003, the band from Georgia started recording and traveling the world on a regular basis, complemented by Franher Joseph on bass since 2007 and the last arrival Marlon Patton on drums, owner of the studio where the new disc was recorded.
From their eponymous debut of 2002 the band has come to Cabbagetown through six studio albums and three live, achieving an admirable balance between the two slides (to which are added the lap steel and mandoguitar played by Johnson) that contribute to the Southern-flavored laid-back sound. Perhaps this aspect is a limit: Delta Moon sometimes seem a bit lazy, as students who do not apply 100% … are good, but could do better. The opening of “Rock And Roll Girl” is emblematic of the quartet’s sound: mid-tempo roots drawled (a little ‘to J. J. Cale), lap steel lazy and incisive at the same time, with female backing vocals. “The Day Before Tomorrow” picks up the pace, while maintaining the impression of laziness, while in the acoustic blues “Just Lucky I Guess” you appreciate the Haitian Joseph on double bass and Gray’s acoustic guitar accompanying Johnson’s pungent slide.

If “Coolest Fools” seems a bit obvious, it is balanced by the intense “Refugee”, a talking blues and denouncing the Night. “Mad About You” includes a solo Johnson all’elettrica. The only cover is Son H0use’s “Death Letter”, approached so unusually both from the musical point of view and the vocal. The mid-tempo blues of the “21st Century Man” and the instrumental hearted “Cabbagetown Shuffle” accompany us to the closing entrusted to the rhythmic roots-rock “Sing Together”.  Another good album for a band that has just started yet another European tour that will pass through our country in the second decade of April.

  • Fabio

Review of Cabbagetown in Flyin Shoes Review

Flyin Shoes

Delta Moon – Cabbagetown

By Norman Darwen

This is the eighth studio album from this four-piece band out of Atlanta, Georgia, with nine original compositions and a throbbing cover of Mississippi Delta bluesman Son House’s classic ‘Death Letter’, more than a little different from other versions you may have heard. The band is more of a roots-rock outfit than a straight blues band, with an upbeat approach and an ability to consistently hit a seemingly effortless groove married to a memorable melody and catchy lyrics. Although the gospel based guitar instrumental ‘Cabbagetown Shuffle’ impresses mightily, a track like ‘Refugee’ probably doesn’t win them too many friends in the more conservative areas of the South.

The band’s sound is unusual in being based around the twin slide guitars and fine vocals of Tom Gray and Mark Johnson over a cooking rhythm section, occasionally aided by the deep vocals of bassist Franher Joseph. At 36 minutes, the running time may seem a little short, but when you have said all that is needed, there’s no need for more, is there?

Review of Cabbagetown in Blues Again (France)

Blues Again (Click here for the original French text.)

Delta Moon – Cabbagetown

We are here with the band that won the International Blues Challenge in 2003, let’s not forget it. This quartet based in Atlanta has never failed its reputation. The proof comes with this eighth studio album. In addition to the rhythm section, Franher Joseph (bass and double bass) and Marlon Patton (drums and percussion) are the two founding members who attract attention because both are slide guitarists. They are Tom Gray and Mark Johnson. It should be noted that Tom Gray was voted Blues lyricist of the year in 2008 by the American Roots Music Association. Nine original compositions and a cover of ‘Death Letter’ by Son House, interpreted in a hypnotic and modern way, appear on this CD which debuts with ‘Rock And Roll Girl’, a song that rocks, but without any hysteria. With ‘The Day Before Tomorrow,’ the next track, we listen to a rhythmic ballad as CCR knew how to do. ‘Just Lucky I Guess’ is an acoustic piece, with double bass and always the slides and voice of Tom Gray, rough as sandpaper. A powerful song that comes close to the desert blues, ‘Refugee’, sees three singers succeed each other: Tom Gray, the beautiful bass voice of Franher Joseph and that of Kyshona Armstrong, backup vocalist on other songs. A country-blues instrumental accompanied by a little harmonica and double bass, ‘Cabbagetown Shuffle’, takes us gently towards the end of the album where the brilliant ‘Sing Together’ positively and enthusiastically urges us to replay this album again and again. A beautiful record to accompany the spring.


Review of Cabbagetown in Don and Sheryl’s Blues Blog

Don and Sheryl’s Blues Blog



One of the really cool things about Atlanta-based blues quartet Delta Moon is the guitar tandem of Tom Gray and Mark Johnson, each of whom trade vocals and guitar parts throughout their latest set for Landslide Records,  “Cabbagetown.”  Franher Joseph is on bass, and Marlon Patton is on drums as the fellows romp thru nine originals and one really sweet cover of a mix of blues, roots, and even a touch of gospel.

The biography of many a rocker is laid out in the opening cut, “Rock And Roll Girl,” where “I tried to fit in, but I never really did,” so “I joined a rock and roll band!”  Mark is on lap steel on this one.  The age-old adage of “nothing beats a failure but a try” is the theme of The Coolest Fools,”  with those ultra-cool twin guitars doin’ their collective thing!  Society’s obsession with gadgetry and instant gratification is the story of the “21st Century Man,” while Marlon’s uptown funk backbeat puts a sho’ nuff new spin on Son House’s ol’ “Death Letter-now, how do you reckon that letter read?,” with well-placed harp from Jon Liebman.

We had two favorites, too.  Undoubtedly, the set’s most topical and powerful cut is “Refugee.”  A brooding, thunderous beat sets the backdrop for a series of spoken-word verses from the band members, as each boldly represents members of an oppressed society seeking safe haven  in a strange land.  And, just as sure as the sunrise promises the salvation of a new day, the lively instrumental, “Cabbagetown Shuffle,” is a refreshing blast of Delta-fied, old-time gospel, with Tom on Hawaiian guitar and Mark on slide.

Delta Moon won the IBC’s in 2003, and Tom Gray was named the American Roots Music Association Blues Songwriter of the Year in 2008.  Unique dual slide guitar arrangements and strong songwriting define “Cabbagetown” as a fine listen, indeed!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.

Review of Cabbagetown by Smoky Mountain Blues Society

Delta Moon – Cabbagetown

CD Review – March 2017

Blue Barry – Smoky Mountain Blues Society

Following up on their blues award winning CD “Low Down,” Delta Moon has another thriller out, their eighth CD, “Cabbagetown.”  It just follows right in the steps of “Low Down.”  This four-piece Atlanta based blues group has toured the United States, Canada and just finished a European tour.  They won the 2003 International Blues Challenge in Memphis, and have been touring ever since.  With two slide players you might  think they would get in each others way.  Not the case.  Tom Gray; vocals, lap steel, guitar, keys, and harmonica, works perfectly with Mark Johnson on guitar, banjo, backing vocals and bottleneck guitar.  “Cabbagetown Shuffle,” is proof of that.  Tom wrote fours songs, he and the band wrote all of the rest, except for Son House’s “Death Letter Blues.”   Their rendition of this old classic is wonderful with Jon Liebman adding some great harmonica.  Their previous release “Low Down,” won the best blues record of the year by both Downbeat and Blues Music Magazine.  I have seen them several times, and they are just killer.  With Franher Joseph on bass and backing vocals, and Marion Patton on drums this band brings the Delta to your home.  Beautiful slide licks, long, soft, slippery and not too much.  Great vocals, with a little salt and mud.  You can hear every instrument.  It’s just flat out good music.  If you are a slide player you want to hear this.  You will get lots of ideas from it.  Why not go to and see for yourself.  You can also find examples on you tube.  They have even been featured on television shows such as Showtime, Lifetime, and the Food Network!  A veteran, well-traveled blues band, that knows what they are doing.  I highly recommend this CD.  Give them a listen.  If you haven’t seen them, start looking for them near your town.  One of my favorite groups.  One love, blue barry – smoky mountain blues society.